I recently received a review copy of Long-Legged Friends: Crochet Creatures to Create and Cuddle by Hisako and Shizue Okawa from Andrews McMeel Publishing. This is a fun, concept book that also turns out some very cute projects.
Shizue, an illustrator, drew adorable little animals, and her mother, Hisako, crocheted them based on the pictures. As in any true artistic collaboration, Hisako doesn’t simply reproduce Shizue’s drawings in 3D crochet, but alters them based on her own creative vision. The resulting projects are these whimsical creatures, most of whom are slender with very long legs.
The book opens with a delightful 36-page photo gallery of each project. (Most are shown in at least two different variations.) The projects are crocheted in white, black, and browns, which creates a very uniform and artsy look to the book.
The next section includes an overview of materials (most projects use #1 sock/fingering/baby weight yarn and a US size C/2.75 mm crochet hook), a primer on reading the stitch symbol charts used for the patterns, and an illustrated review of the stitches used in this book along with the associated stitch symbol. Like most amigurumi projects, these are made primarily with single crochet (UK double crochet) stitches. The authors include some general information about assembly and finishing (e.g., how to attach safety eyes and embroider facial features), and remind the reader that customization is great and it isn’t necessary to exactly follow the patterns.
The last section includes the patterns for 12 creatures (including 5 little versions). Each pattern includes a materials list, a numbered list of instructions (“Make the Fuzzy Bear”), an illustration with assembly and finishing notes (e.g., “Do not stuff ears”), and charted instructions for crocheting in spirals. There are also instructions for traveling clothes – a scarf, hat, and bag that can be made to accessorize your creatures.
This is a very fun little book, which beautifully presents a collaboration between two artisans who happen to be mother and daughter. If you are looking for a book with 20+ patterns of stylized amigurumi with enormous heads and tiny bodies, this is probably not the book for you. On the other hand, if you like to take inspiration from patterns but modify the projects to suit your whims, or if you think of crochet as an art form and appreciate a book that presents it as such, then this would be a great book. These projects would also appeal to someone making toys for children, as each project appears immensely huggable, and they are very homey and sweet. I think this book will actually appeal more to crocheters who aren’t typically attracted to amigurumi books.
Normally, I would offer a giveaway for this book right now on my blog. But I’m saving it for Chubby Sheep CAL prize! For more info on the CAL, see this blog post. And for more details on the giveaway, visit this thread on Ravelry. (If you’re not on Ravelry, don’t fret! I will post prize details on my blog this week.)